The Easel

8th November 2022

Alex Katz’s Massive Guggenheim Retrospective Is the Season’s Biggest Disappointment

Some critics have misgivings about Katz. Reviewing his 1986 retrospective, one disapproved of the “prettiness” of his art and claimed that he lacked a sense of the “weight, pathos and energy of the human body”. Decades on, Katz hasn’t shaken off the doubters. Granted, the deadpan, Pop-inspired aesthetic he brought to his early portraits was innovative. Further, some think his paintings of social gatherings are “astute”. For this writer, though, Katz’s art, once “edgy, has calcified and grown stale”.

Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Misunderstood Oeuvre

After a long-running retrospective of the Bechers work, a postscript. Their hugely influential photography of industrial structures is sometimes criticized for being “aloof, impersonal”. How can it be impersonal when their work is so “immediately identifiable?” Their images reveal not just “an elemental beauty of geometry” but also the “human individuality” of these structures.  “Google “black and white industrial photograph” and nothing even remotely similar appears.”